2020 Oscar Nominations & Narratives


Get ready for embarrassing think-pieces, counter think-pieces, over-analysis, pithy under-analysis, people writing about movies they haven’t seen like it’s the most important thing in the world. People will argue that watching these films will change the world, give you cancer, cure cancer, make people racist, or solve all those problems. It is all ridiculous. There are many things more important in the world than film, but few things that are as accessible. It’s important to remember that this is all in good fun and so extra.

This is the first year that many female films were actually watched by large audiences, not because they were required homework but because they were engaging stories people wanted to watch. Things don’t progress as fast as they should or as many would like. So the main headline will be the lack of diversity. There are no female directors nominated. There could have been; Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Jennifer Kent (The Nightingale), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers), Lulu Wang (The Farewell). Previous years there only would have been one of those, years before that I would have had to look them up before writing this piece. The growing irony of the Oscars is that as the cultural relevancy of films increases so too does one’s perceived lack of inclusion despite greater spotlighting tools. We wouldn’t know it if people hadn’t already seen these films and thought they were great. This noise is a good thing. There are very few impersonal things that we as a society are able to review annually and talk to each other on without taking personal offense.

I look forward to the discussion so much that I already have in place a narrative for every major nominee. This is what people will likely say about each nomination. There are some undiscovered narratives out there, some actor will say something controversial, a woke critic will give a well-written critical re-examination of a film when it hits critical mass that was heretofore unheard of. There’s more to come that we don’t know, but as an expert (as anyone in my Oscar pool will tell you) I thought I’d jump in and give you a line to take when movie small talk begins at the watercooler. I have bolded what I thought should win because too much emphasis is often given to what people think “will win” which is a shame. I have not seen all the nominees yet this year and neither have you. I haven’t even seen Green Book yet so take that as you will.


Best Picture

  • 1917 (One-Take War Movie)
  • Ford v. Ferrari (Movie no one thinks is great but critics think should be nominated)
  • Jojo Rabbit (Critically unadored crowd-pleaser)
  • Joker (Overrated fanboy favourite)
  • Little Women (Is this diverse enough alone? Says the Academy. No says everyone else)
  • Marriage Story (Independent film w/ outsized Netflix financial Oscar lobby)
  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (Known more for its controversy than content)
  • Parasite (Shockingly merited, by God someone will find something to complain about)
  • The Irishman (Boring movie considered safe choice because of the pedigree involved)

Best Director

  • Bong Joon-ho (Talented filmmaker in strange foreign territory)
  • Sam Mendes (Savvy director working way out of his element)
  • Martin Scorsese (Respected choice out of his Prime)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Respected choice at the crest of his Prime)
  • Todd Phillips (Privileged and undeserving choice but can’t see why)

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Parasite (Is the screenplay stronger or the direction, we don’t know)
  • Marriage Story (An excellent movie with a better screenplay than direction)
  • Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood (consolation prize lined for QT if he doesn’t win)
  • Knives Out (Lets lighten the category up guys)
  • 1917 (reward to director for trying to write for the first time)

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • The Two Popes (Writer knows what people like and how to win these things)
  • The Irishman (over-decorated writer that people lean on because they have no taste)
  • Jojo Rabbit (The highest strongest concept whose actual execution is irrelevant)
  • Joker (Really doesn’t deserve nomination, but one people can easily over-interpret)
  • *Little Women (Literary classic adaptation #25 and Dead Easy pick)

Best Actor:

  • Adam Driver (Best Actor of his generation would-be deserving win)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (I previously won undeservedly, but I’m actually good this time)
  • *Joaquin Phoenix (People like the idea of me and are familiar with my character)
  • Antonio Banderas (Non-critical darling pitied despite being successful & sexy af)
  • Jonathan Pryce (5th slot wildcard by veteran actor in well-cast role whose presence here could be replaced by someone potentially more exciting like Bale or Adam Sandler)

Best Actress:

  • Cynthia Erivo (I deserve better but this’ll do, can’t wait for the undue pressure to perform and be asked constant questions about diversity that get way too boring, all while I star on a TV show where I give a more interesting performance that people will substitute for my actual nominated work)
  • Scarlett Johansson (Good actor whose selection here is indicative of the lack of strong female written characters in Hollywood, I can’t wait to be pitted against other women and be told I’m taking from diversity again)
  • Renee Zellwegger (Comeback role in a musical biopic, the only route for a woman over 40 in Hollywood still)
  • Charlize Theron (I will be judged on the real life actions of the fictional character I portray perfectly and pitted against other women for stealing their nomination, despite having an Oscar I won’t be taken seriously and afterwards I’ll go back to action movies)
  • Saoirse Ronan (This is my 4th Oscar Nomination before I turn 26, yet despite doing so in a 1/3 less time and a full 16 years before Leonardo Dicaprio I am still considered an up and comer, just young enough to play his girlfriend onscreen yet far too old to date him in real life.)

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Kathy Bates (Previous winner recognized in a small part and will get asked woke questions on whether I actually deserve to do what I’m doing)
  • Scarlett Johansson (I’m probably taking someone else’s more deserving slot given I’m already nominated in a major category but this is a huge personal triumph so excuse me for being selfish lest I torpedo my own chances for saying something controversial)
  • Florence Pugh (I will win in the lead category in a couple of years for something undeserving but all people see now is Marvel memes with me and Black Widow)
  • Laura Dern (I am connected to a lot of famous and powerful people in Hollywood and am well liked for greatly helping out actors, I am the same in every movie, I have good taste)
  • Margot Robbie (I can win at anything but I’m too gracious and polite to say it, I’m still known more for my outstanding looks despite evidence of my overwhelming talent)

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Al Pacino (Miscast yet Scenery chewing, I have been yellin since NINTEEN NINETY-TWO!)
  • Joe Pesci (eh, I haven’t done anything since Home Alone, it’s my privilege! Gee I would feel so bad if something were to happen to someone who didn’t nominate me)
  • Brad Pitt (I still have the most popular role, and I am still probably the best at it. If I lose- HEY, I’m still single and even in dad years, prettier than LDC. I say that can’t be too bad)
  • Tom Hanks (Hey I am kind of a big deal pal, I am the most commercially successful leading actor in the world, but because of my back to back leading Oscars the Academy would feel lazy for rewarding me again)
  • Anthony Hopkins (Yes, I am a classically trained actor with a great gift, I’ve been told… by myself…. this role came to me and I knew instantly how to play him, the same way I play all my roles, like a real life Mr. Burns)

Best Original Score:

  • Newman x2 (Thomas and Randy are cousins who both work on PIXAR films)
  • Alexander Desplat (Won twice last decade and is often multiply slotted)
  • Hildur Guanodottir (I’m great but may be mostly talked about on the basis of sex)
  • John Williams (Greatest living film composer whose legacy nomination, is a riff on his most famous score)

Best Original Song:

  • Dianne Warren (inevitably 11x being nominated this is her year to finally win)
  • Cynthia Erivo (dual-nominated, will be heavily cut to in ceremony to make up for #OscarsSoWhite backlash)
  • Randy Newman (Toy Story guy suddenly relevant again I see)
  • Frozen II (these EGOT winners stole the theme for “Let It Go”, so here we go again)
  • Rocketman (That Elton John and Bernie Taupin might go somewhere some day)

Best Documentary

  • American Factory (The timely Obama produced movie that represents America-n spending to get you to sit down and watch a Documentary- Now)
  • The Cave (Some..BODY’s favourite)

Best Animated Film

  • Toy Story 4 (better than 3 but they already overpraised the last one)
  • The Missing Link (These movies are expensive, make no money and have a small commercially unsustainable audience, but my father owns Nike)

Best International Feature

  • Les Miserables (Good film people would watch if they could bother to read sous-titres)
  • Parasite (I should and will win Best Picture but happen to be from another country)
  • Honeyland (Write this down as your alternate)
  • Pain & Glory (reliably good filmmaker and constant nominee in this category)

Best Costume Design

  • Joker (I did Phantom Thread and won a Ski-doo so whattya gonna do?)
  • Little Women (A costumed drama period piece, this award is my bread and butter)
  • The Irishman (I am the best costume designer in the world I could do anything)

Best Production Design

  • Parasite (Super restrictive location-wise, but subtle enough that a win will alienate me from everyone else in this category)
  • Joker (Craft like this that people bust their butt on makes this movie look better than it is)
  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (the car budget of this film is likely higher than the budget of Parasite)

Best Cinematography

  • 1917 (An entire film made to look like one shot)
  • Joker (The best part of this overrated movie)
  • Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood (I have this cinematographer picked to do my movie)
  • The Irishman (Lot of technical stuff to manage in this film that I don’t think is pulled off)
  • The Lighthouse (Made with early 20th century film equipment)

Best Visual Effects

  • Avengers: Endgame (Impressively, the time-travel costumes were complete CGI)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Can you think of any individual effect here that warrants an award over the far more deserving Disney film Alita: Battle Angel)
  • The Lion King (The Jungle Book again, and uglier than the original rip-off)
  • 1917 (Really? I haven’t seen it yet but I will)
  • The Irishman (Are you kidding me? Every single review mentioned how badly noticeable the CGI was even if they praised the film, it was plastic and far from flawless)

So there’s a lot to complain about, because we all of course know more about the movies not nominated than the pundits speaking on TV (I have a lot more time on my hands, you see). So I hate every time I hear something like “Oh J-Lo got snubbed which is a shame because she campaigned so hard!” That doesn’t matter, it’s the content of the actual movie, not how you feel about the person in real-life. People can forget what matters. It’s not about political campaign victory speeches, yes we all know about climate change, glad you took a limo here to enlighten us. What works is when a winner speaks to what made the film personally to them, that’s memorable, unique andt what carries the day. So let’s go talk about why Marie Heller wasn’t nominated for It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, or Chinonye Chukwu for Clemency and if it matters that the Oscars didn’t nominate them when Disney, who had 2 Billion dollar grossing films this year written/ directed by and starring women will hire these women next year anyway.

Be true to your own views, don’t just copy what everyone else is saying, that’s unproductive and cheap. We might not find answers in our fruitful discussions, but we might at least talk each other into asking the right questions.

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